Draft Recommendation 3
Review the level, scope and targeting of financial assistance to ensure volunteers are able to participate on a footing comparable with those who participate in GNSO as part of their profession.
|Working Party (initial assessment of feasibility and usefulness):||CG - Accept with modification: The intent of this recommendation is good but it is also extremely challenging because of the extremely diverse circumstances of Internet users around the world. Here are some factors that should be considered: 1) Telecommunications infrastructure is not comparable from locale to locale; 2) facilitating fully comparable opportunities for everyone may be cost prohibitive in some cases; 3) is remote participation considered to be comparable to in-person participation? Rationale: 'Comparable footing' needs to be defined before it can be measured; it may be cost-prohibitive to provide truly comparable footing to all.|
|Staff (initial assessment of feasibility and usefulness):|
MK: Accept as-is.
|Basis for Assessment:|
|Work in Progress:||Community Travel Support - currently SG/Cs allocate funding according to their internal policies. Community Special Budget Requests.|
|Expected Completion Date for Work in Progress:|
|Responsibility:||Each SG/C for allocated funding; GSE for outreach generally|
Public Comments Received
Recommendation 3 (Participation and Representation): Review the level, scope and targeting of financial assistance to ensure volunteers are able to participate on a footing comparable with those who participate in GNSO as part of their profession.
gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group
(It Depends) The intent of this recommendation is good but it is also extremely challenging because of the extremely diverse circumstances of Internet users around the world. Here are some factors that should be considered: 1) Telecommunications infrastructure is not comparable from locale to locale; 2) facilitating fully comparable opportunities for everyone may be cost prohibitive in some cases; 3) is remote participation considered to be comparable to in-person participation? It is important to understand what benefits would be achieved by providing financial assistance to those with no interest in a policy process. Is it the intention that funding could be provided to those with specific expertise that could be of value to the process.
(It Depends) Whilst a review of the current scope and level of financial assistance would be welcomed and would also increase the level of transparency, this also brings to the fore one of the major tensions that exists within the structure of the GNSO. For the some parties the majority of policy development work within the GNSO impacts their core business. For other parties that isn’t the case and justifying participation within WGs and the huge time commitment that entails within their home organizations is often viewed as a difficult step and a barrier to participation. In such a case the GNSO lacks legitimacy and is open to capture. Targeted financial assistance to ensure balanced representation across the GNSO community should be investigated, particularly where such an approach could also increase geographical, ethnicity and gender diversity. Another ATRT2 GNSO PDP Evaluation Study Final Report (2013) Recommendation that has never been followed up was that ICANN should consider nurturing and supporting WG participants from Africa, Asia/Pac, Latin America/Caribbean and South America. If financial assistance is being considered this should form part of that consideration. It would be useful to have some results of the fellowship program with metrics associated with bringing in a fellow and the likehood that the person would join a constituency as a result. Some measure of how successful the financial assistance program is against some set of agreed measures (continued participation, rate of joining constituencies) might be useful.
We agree on the majority of the recommendations, especially those emphasizing efforts for better and greater outreach to, and enabling participation of, volunteers in the policy work.
Internet Society, India Kolkata Chapter
There is increased need to recognise the effort of the volunteer work force and as such to increase participation from volunteers different from who need to the activity as part of their profession is very strategic in nature and has a long term impact.
Laura Covington, J. Scott Evans, Marie Pattullo
Shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the volunteer process. Even if “part of their profession”, this is not the day job of any BC member. The majority of business participants within ICANN receive no travel support, so while it is true that it is their employer, and not them personally, who pays for the travel expenses, for most professionals all the time spent on ICANN matters is above and beyond their day-to-day work. Their daily (including client) work still mounts up awaiting evenings or their return to the office. In addition, the recommendation is unclear and seems to suggest that ICANN offer some type of remuneration to participants. The BC does not support the use of ICANN funds to compensate volunteers. The BC respectfully notes that BC member representatives also have day jobs. Likewise we dispute the simplistic business vs non-commercial divide. This suggests that commercial participants are not interested in coming to timely and efficient solutions but instead can afford to waste their (professional) time.
This is certainly a huge problem, particularly noticeable this year with Netmundial, the IANA transition, and a number of very demanding working groups requiring sustained time and effort.
(Support) It may be difficult to draw any bright line distinguishing individuals that “participate in the GNSO as part of their profession” from others. Furthermore, the recommendation is based on a premise or definition that is false to a certain extent – that those who participate “as part of their profession” are not participating as volunteers. The phrasing of the recommendation seems influenced by certain myths about Commercial Stakeholder Group members, and particularly IPC members – that all of us are fully funded by our employers. The more relevant inquiry may be whether individuals are required to participate as part of their job description or are routinely subsidized by their employer to participate. For example, many individual members in the IPC, as well as those representing organizational members,
Reward systems for PDP WG participation should not include financial renumeration or even travel support to ICANN meetings. Remote participation is a perfectly adequate means of participation in ICANN meetings, and if financial assistance is warranted, perhaps it can be invested in ensuring effective remote participation for participants with limited ability to engage remotely due to poor local connectivity.
(Support) The ALAC has long supported this cause, as we also note the strain on all aspects of a volunteer’s life when participating fully in the bottom-up multistakeholder process, especially when the work requires significant time commitments. We also note that this recommendation echoes ATRT2 Recommendation 10.5. In response to the ATRT2 Recommendation on increasing participation in policy development, ICANN cited the CROPP program, a program with VERY little apparent benefit to the issue in question.